Oct 18, 2018 - Sale 2489

Sale 2489 - Lot 321

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,500
A suite of 8 photographs featuring the spirits of historically important figures, as summoned during a séance, and photographed by Dr. William Keeler.
With images including the ghoulishly floating spirits of Mary Todd Lincoln, Moses, Robert Burns, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Cockburn, among others. Silver prints, 5 printed on postcard paper, the images measuring 5 1/2x3 3/4 inches (14x9.5 cm.), and slightly smaller, 5 with notations on verso identifying some of the spirits, and 2 identifying a sitter (Aidan R. Coburn), one with the photographer's credit, and one with the date, in ink, on verso. Circa 1909

Additional Details

Dr. William Keeler was a Washington D.C. based spirit photographer, and brother to the well-known Spiritualist Medium Pierre L. O. A. Keeler. In addition to studio sittings, for just $3 Keeler also offered a mail-order spirit photo service. Interested parties were requested to send a photo of themselves after keeping it on their person for two days (so as to increase "personal magnetism"). In return they would receive two photographs connecting them with "those gone before." Results were not guaranteed. However, testaments to Keeler's practice were published in 1906 and 1915.